When most people think of dementia, they automatically think of Alzheimer’s, and many use the terms interchangeably. And while it is true that Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, there are several other forms of dementia that are not Alzheimer’s.
It is important to distinguish between Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, because some of the other forms of dementia can be treated and even cured, while Alzheimer’s cannot. So if you have a loved one seems to be experiencing cognitive decline, make sure to seek medical attention to determine if their condition is treatable, rather than just assuming that it is Alzheimer’s and therefore can’t be treated and will only get worse.
There is hope that it is one of the other forms of dementia that can be temporary when treated properly, since according to Dementia.org around 20% of patients with dementia symptoms have a curable condition.
Treatable/Reversible Causes of Dementia
- Reactions to medications—this is especially common in older adults who are taking multiple medications. It could be a single medication causing the symptoms, but more often it is the result of interactions between medications that is causing the cognitive impairment.
- Fevers and infections—high fevers can cause dementia symptoms, as can some infections. These infections could either be infections actually in the brain or infections that affect the brain, such as meningitis, encephalitis, untreated syphilis, or Lyme disease. In some cases, conditions like leukemia that attack the immune system can also cause symptoms of dementia.
- Tumors—some brain tumors can cause cognitive impairment and dementia.
- Nutritional deficiencies and metabolic or endocrine problems—dehydration, too little or too much sodium or calcium, impaired absorption of vitamin B-12, lack of vitamin B-1 or B-6, hypoglycemia, or thyroid problems can cause cognitive impairment.
- Chronic heart or lung problems—if there is not enough oxygen getting to the brain due to respiratory or cardiovascular problems, dementia can result.
- Poisoning—heavy metal poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning, and alcohol or drug poisoning can all result in dementia, but often once the substance has left the body, the symptoms reduce drastically or disappear altogether.
- Emotional distress and depression—depression and distress can cause some symptoms of dementia, especially the inability to concentrate, but this can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, because it is hard to tell if the depression caused the dementia or if the dementia caused the depression.
If you begin to notice that you or a loved one is experiencing cognitive issues, it is important not to avoid seeking help out of fear that the decline is incurable and progressive; it may be completely curable.
For more information, contact Unlimited Care Cottages today!